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points of the variation between moral law and moral sentiments, should be so often betrayed into the weary unspiritual common-places on the subject which are so common in the timid theology of her school. The passage we quote is one of familiar illustration, addressed to a child, and suited to children's comprehension, but is one extremely applicable to the sentimental philanthropy of maturer years, and displays fine moral discrimination:

66 6 Will you tell me, whilst I am working, what you had not time to speak about yesterday? I mean, why it never does people any good to go and see others suffer merely from curiosity.'

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"It not only does them no good, but it does them harm,' replied Mrs. Herbert, and for this reason: God gives to almost every one, and especially to young people, many kind, amiable feelings, as a sort of treasure which they are carefully to keep. Now, these kind feelings, as people grow older, gradually die away as they get accustomed to the sight of suffering, and so at last they are likely to become cold and hard-hearted; and there is only one sure way of preventing this,—by doing kind actions whenever we are blessed with kind feelings. Perhaps you would rather I should explain myself more clearly,' added Mrs. Herbert, as Amy laid down her work and looked thoughtfully in her mother's face. When you saw Susan Reynolds yesterday you had compassion for her, and a great wish to help her: this was the good feeling given you by God; but supposing you had thought that, after all, it was too much trouble to work for her, you would soon have forgotten her, and the next time you saw her you would probably have pitied her less, and the next time less still; and if you had gone on so, you might have ended in becoming perfectly cold and selfish; but by determining to do something, you have kept up your interest; and you will find that your kind feeling will continue and increase, not only for her, but for other persons you may see in distress.'


But then I have heard you say, mamma, that we ought not to follow our feelings entirely.'

"No;' replied Mrs. Herbert; 'because very often our feelings are wrong, and therefore we must have some other rule to go by, or we shall continually mistake our duties; but when they are right they are given us by God to make those duties easy and pleasant; and if we do not encourage them, we shall find, when we grow old, that it will be very difficult, if not almost impossible, to do right, however we may wish it.'

66 6

Then, mamma, if we had always good feelings there would be no occasion to do anything but just what we felt inclined how very nice that would be.'




"There is but one way of getting these good feelings,' said Mrs. Herbert, and that is by doing what we know we ought, whether we like it or not; and only one way of keeping them when we have got them, by taking care always to act upon them; and if we begin when we are young, it is astonishing how easy it will soon become. I know you like an illustration, Amy, to make remember things; so now I will give you one, to teach you the difference between feelings and duty. Feelings are like the horses which carry us quickly and easily along the road, only sometimes they stumble, and sometimes they go wrong, and now and then they will not move at all; but duty is like the coachman who guides them, and spurs them up when they are too slow, and brings them back when they go out of the way.'

"Thank you, mamma,' said Amy, as she ran to the window at the sound of approaching wheels; I think I shall always remember now. And here come my uncle's feelings down the lane,beautiful grey ones; and there is duty on the coach-box driving them.'

"Well,' observed Mrs. Herbert, smiling, I hope duty will guide the feelings properly round the corner, for it is a very awkward turn.'

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There is one more point to which we would draw attention before we conclude: we mean, the influence on the imaginative interest of these tales, as works of art, caused by the ritual theology they inculcate. It might certainly seem that the mode in which this theology creates a kind of objective existence for the spiritual life, giving in its mystical institutions central points of visible importance, round which to condense the various conflicts of conscience, and the intenser emotions of the spirit, introducing frequently, in fact, a crisis and an era into the religious experience, analogous to the various focal points of circumstantial interest in ordinary narrative, would be very favourable to its imaginative influence over the reader's mind, and extend the capacities of religious fiction. Our authoress at least thinks so, we suppose, as she has made much use in some of her tales of the solemn interests attaching to the various rites of her Church, in which mystical influence is supposed to be put forth. Yet we think there is total failure in making them points of interest to the reader. All human feelings and sentiments, it is true, require, in fiction, to have an outward as well as an inward life, objects for their activity, and times when exCHRISTIAN TEACHER.-No. 50.


ternal events load them with satisfaction or disappointment, in order to infuse any deep interest throughout: inward hopes must be staked on external circumstances, and the order of circumstances depend on the energies exercised within. But this does not seem to be so, when spiritual life is in question. To give it also a distinct external career, seems an infringement of its nature, and is repugnant to our tastes the reason seems to be that here, if anywhere, in the spiritual secrecy of the individual soul, should all the doubt, and risk, and trial of mere outward fate find its explanation, and lose the arbitrary character that it has to spectators from without.

Spiritual life should afford to each the special explanations that we need, of our outward lots, tell us the discipline we had needed, and point out how what seemed accidental to others, was really the divine address of Providence to our individual case of moral want. So far as our life is dependent for its moral power and purity on the framework of circumstances, it is not spiritual. And hence we feel a natural repugnance to any theology that represents God as making physical as well as moral conditions necessary for his highest spiritual aid, because it unsettles again all the faith we had learned, and introduces the arbitrary character (which it had been the object of Religion to refer to a moral purpose, hidden from worldly thought) into the very essence of Religion itself. Thus the theory of Apostolic succession, which makes divine power an heir-loom in a physical line, and represents God as committing himself to pass his holiest gifts through any unblest hands that man and circumstance may select, creates a moral puzzle where all should be pure and bright. The only explanation even of the unbending physical laws of creation is, surely, that some visible and certain order is necessary for the discipline of men's responsibility, since they must know what will be the results of their actions, in order that their principles of decision should be tested at all. But if the personal relation of the divine will to man is to be regulated by laws equally unmoral, where there is no such explanation of its necessity, since we are taught directly from within the moral quality of our actions in God's sight, we should be led to doubt the absolute supremacy of spiritual laws in the universe, and almost towards

the Pantheistic notions that God's nature is present equally in all the developments of his energy. To teach that God thus ties himself down to fixed modes of action that are independent of the contingencies of human need, and sin, and virtue, as much in spiritual influence as in physical laws, entirely confounds and identifies the moral and physical as equally divine. For this reason it seems to us that the attempt to connect the interest of these tales with the ritual eras of the Church, has something of the effect of an anti-climax, in lowering the purity and dignity of the religious faith whose history is told. We would willingly quote more from the much that is beautiful and noble in these volumes; but the best passages are so bound up with the special interests of the narrative, and so inseparable from them, that it would be difficult to do so with any justice to the authoress herself. We have neglected to notice the points in which the theology of the writer will offend the tastes of most of our readers, because they can be easily gathered from the objections of principle we have made. The kind of biographic dogmatism which positively fixes baptism as the date when the infant receives the accession of a conscience; the disposition to represent clergymen, and clergymen's wives, and clergymen's widows, as characters of a uniform and somewhat uninteresting perfection, who betray the continuance of moral struggles within them only by sighs when charged with any peculiar excellence; the recommendations to young ladies to take secret opportunities of eating less and more unattractive food on fast days, and to give children half-holidays on the feasts, are things too trivial and too amusing to require distinct notice. We can only wish that, notwithstanding ecclesiastical accretions, Faith were universally and as prominently conceived as a principle of life, as a sustaining power in duty, as it is by the authoress of these tales. Were the Church, indeed, as substantially regarded as subordinate to the perfection of individual character, as it is in this writer's system of thought, the dogmatic elements which do not contribute to purify and strengthen men, would soon and insensibly drop away. We earnestly wish that the same leading view, a view in its essence Protestant, that spiritual influences mean those and those only which strengthen us for the purest life, and that moral elevation

can be attained only through spiritual influences, permeated as completely the other religious bodies of our land. Were it so, we should feel that a principle was rooted in the country which could leave us no cause for real anxiety on the score of Cardinal Wiseman's mission to our nation, and the new Papal Bull.



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